Friday, November 28, 2014

Scout Rangers Honor Outstanding ‘Musangs’ in 64thAnniversary

From the Website of AFP
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CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR), one of the country’s elite military forces honored its outstanding members during the celebration of its 64th founding anniversary in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan, yesterday (November 25).

Brigadier General Eduardo B. Davalan, FSRR Regiment Commander led the awarding ceremony that was held at the FSRR Camp’s multi-purpose hall.

With its theme, “64 Years of Solid Fellowship and Leading Upfront”, the FSRR recognized the accomplishments of its distinguished personnel both in combat and admin duties.

Among the awardees for heroism is Captain Franco F. Baylon who received the Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in action during an encounter with about 100 Abu Sayyaf bandits in April. Despite being wounded after exposing himself to enemy fire, he ably led the 13th Scout Ranger Company to counter the enemy thereby neutralizing 11 and wounding eight others.

Also receiving the same award is Sergeant Neil M. Silos for leading his men against more or less 50 Abu Sayyaf bandits on October 2013. Despite having two wounded personnel, he inspired his men to hold their positions preventing the enemy from penetrating their sector during a five-hour firefight without reinforcement. His leadership saved the lives of his men and led to the neutralization of one Abu Sayyaf member and wounding of two others.

The Bronze Cross Medal, an award for non-combat heroism was given to Sgt. Rolando L. Castillo. He was cited for his heroic acts while saving the lives of hapless students who were caught by a flash flood at the Madlum River. As a rescue diver, he courageously conducted several dives into the raging river which contributed to the rescue of two students and recovery of seven cadavers.

Receiving the Military Merit Medal for meritorious performance of duty are Captain Marlon F Reyes Jr., 1Lt Mark Anthony E. Ninalga, Captain Don Arian A. Cabotaje, Captain Andy Lawrence C. Acapulco, 1Lt Roy Ryan O. Bauding, 1Lt Armelyn O. Dela Cruz, Sgt. Wilfredo J. Estabillo, and Cpl Ruben M. Lopez.

Captain Baylon was also awarded a plaque of merit for being the junior officer of the year. Another recipient was SSg. Joel R. Bermeo for having the best overall performance in the operations among the enlisted personnel. 

Musang Legends

This year’s anniversary was also a tribute to the forefathers of the FSRR who have set the elite force on what it is today.

Leading the honorees was Brigadier General Cirilo O. Oropesa who was also the guest of honor and speaker during the ceremony.

Oropesa was among the first few members of the FSRR and was one of the first staff officers to compose the Scout Ranger Training Unit, the forerunner of the elite force.

For living up to the finest warrior tradition of the Scout Ranger and continuously inspiring present members, Oropesa along with BGen. Ramon L. Cannu (Ret), Col. Daniel B. Labrado (Ret), and BGen Peter H. Espadero was awarded the Distinguished Scout Ranger Plaque joining the ranks of other Musang Legends.

Considered as the most popular Scout Ranger, General Julius Javier has been proudly raising the Musang banner since his daring feats and unrivaled combat accomplishments in the 70’s and 80’s.

Javier who earned the moniker “Living Legend” has survived ambushes unscathed; repulsed an overwhelming enemy attack; faced bullets to rescue wounded soldiers; led a seven-man team of Rangers to infiltrate and capture communist rebels; and convinced an MNLF commander to surrender along with his followers and firearms.

He is also highly-regarded by his fellow soldiers being promoted to a full colonel just 13 years after graduating from his class.

Other notable Scout Rangers are Medal of Valor awardees Captain Cirilito Sobejana of the 1st Scout Ranger Company and Captain Robert Edward Lucero of the 6th Scout Ranger Company. Both were awarded for exemplary leadership and courage under intense battle against the enemy in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

Partner Stakeholders

Also awarded were civilian partners who showed extraordinary commitment and active support to the FSRR’s efforts in fulfilling the IPSP campaign towards just and lasting peace.

The recipients of the plaque of appreciation were the Hero Foundation, Inc.; Doctor Gail T. Ilagan, Director of the Ateneo de Davao University’s Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services; and Mrs. Yolanda C. Barela.  

The FSRR was founded on November 25, 1950 under the command of former AFP Vice Chief of Staff and Defense Secretary Rafael M. Ileto.

The elite force which is known for its specialization in anti-guerilla warfare was created to counter the Hukbalahap Guerillas and its rebellion in the 1950’s.

Now on its 64th year, the FSRR is more invigorated to conduct focused military operations against armed threat and terrorist groups in the country in support of the AFP’s internal security campaign for just and lasting peace.

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